“You can’t just look at Klees. They must be absorbed on multiple levels.”—Mark Tobey
One of the older members of the Abstract Expressionist circle, Mark Tobey had a special relationship with Paul Klee that stemmed from his strong grounding in Asian calligraphy and aesthetics. His study of Chinese calligraphy and philosophy (first from a Chinese student in Seattle and later while living in a Zen monastery in Kyoto), combined with his Bahá’í faith, led to his development of a delicate, linear calligraphic style. Tobey applied his signature “white writing” technique in his mesmerizing Night Flight. Using densely layered networks of white pigment against a dark ground, Tobey creates lines suggestive of nocturnal energy and movement.
This work is on view in Ten Americans: After Paul Klee through May 6, 2018.